Home Waste Audit

Spending more time at home? Wondering how you can increase your waste literacy and circularity? Join us for the Home Waste Audit and challenge yourself to reduce your waste and increase your waste literacy!

The Home Waste Audit allows participants to think about how residential waste impacts the global waste footprint. Residential waste is an important piece the plastic cycle, and how we produce and dispose of our waste affects the amount of plastic pollution in aquatic ecosystems.


  1. Learn about the waste stream in the municipality where you live. i.e., learn what bins you have (e.g., recycling, landfill, organics) and what goes in each of them.
  2. Decrease your waste footprint and divert waste away from landfill by procuring and using products that you can reuse recycle.  

Ultimately, throughout this project, you will be tracking your waste with a goal to reduce the amount heading to the landfill – which lies at the bottom of the waste hierarchy.

The waste hierarchy – a.k.a. the Solutions Hierarchy for reducing waste!

Interested in participating?

YOU are welcome to join us! Everyone is welcome. All you need is access to the internet, some paper (bonus if you use scrap paper), a pencil/pen, and a healthy dash of motivation. Make sure to join our webinars for instructions and to get started on time.

How it works:

The Home Waste Audit takes four weeks, and will be held during the period of Wed July 8th – Tues August 4th, 2020. Each week you will audit your waste. There will also be four short online surveys you’ll be asked to fill out as part of the data collection.

We will provide online resources and invite you to attend two webinars. See below for all the materials and information on how to participate!

Webinars and Surveys:

There will be two webinars, one at the beginning with instructions on how to audit your waste and another six weeks later to share our final results.

  1. Webinar 1 will be July 7th at 7pm EDT.
  2. Webinar 2 will be August 18th at 7pm EDT.

Surveys links will be emailed to you directly and are designed to be quick and easy to complete.

If you missed the first webinar, view the video below and email UofTTrashTeam@gmail.com to be included in data analysis.

Here’s a glimpse at the schedule:

  • Before July 7th – Fill out the Entrance Survey (Survey 1).
  • July 7th – Attend Introductory Webinar.
  • Week 1 of Waste Audit (July 8 – 14) – Begin to audit your waste; fill out Survey 2.
  • Week 4 of Waste Audit (July 29 – Aug 4) – Complete your audit and submit results, fill out Survey 3.
  • August 18th – Attend Results Webinar; Fill out the Exit Survey (Survey 3).
  • October – Fill out your final survey – Survey 4

Instructions and materials for participation:

Instructional Guide

Datasheet for Landfill Waste

Datasheet for Recycling Waste

Expected Results and Anticipated Outcomes

Our home waste audit will show us how waste management differs between locations, and how different people make and dispose of their waste. We will measure how much waste we divert from the landfill, and characterize how our waste changes over the course of the study. We will ask questions to help us understand whether we are seeding behaviours that stick, allowing for a long-term impact. And finally, during this project, we will be sharing some great waste reduction tips. We will compile these as a resource, using the new tips and tricks we adopt together during our 4-week audit.